LETTER : Foetal rights or people rights?

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The Independent Online
In her article about James Kelly's attempt to prevent his wife from having an abortion, Anne Treneman mentions various attempts to prevent pregnant women from using dangerous drugs ("Just imagine if James Kelly had won...", Real Life, 1 June). Though these cases "have little to do with abortion", she says they have "everything to do with the rights of the foetus". But surely drug cases are different from abortion precisely because they raise the issue of the rights and interests, not of foetuses, but of the children and adults into which they develop. One could consistently maintain that while a woman's right to control her body is sufficiently strong to permit her to take action resulting in the death of a foetus, it does not permit her to act in a way which, rather than killing it, results in serious harm to the person into which it will develop. Whether this would ever justify those attempts in the US to jail some pregnant drug addicts is yet another question.

David Bain

Corpus Christi College,


I WONDER if Catherine Francoise of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children can explain to us, voluntarily child-free adults, not only what niche she has planned for us but what rights we can expect in her child-centred society. And how are these children of the future going to cope when they reach adulthood and find no one cares a bean for them unless they can guarantee to reproduce?

Jane Collins